Scientists Crack Teeth-Regeneration Code, Solution to Dentist Drill?
A lot of people hate the dentist. Taking teeth out is perhaps one of the most painful things to have ever happened in anyone's life, given the amount of nerves connected to a single tooth.
However, researchers and dentists may have finally devised a method to regenerate rotten teeth. This can significantly reduce the need for fillings in the future.
According to The Guardian, the therapy works by enhancing the natural ability of the teeth to repair themselves via the activation of stem cells in the soft pulp at its center.
Normally, the mechanism can only repair small cracks and holes in the dentine. This is the solid bulk of the tooth just beneath the surface enamel. However, scientists have used an Alzheimer's drug to enhance the natural process. Now the tooth can rebuild cavities extending from the surface to the roof.
According to Nature, Paul Sharpe, who led the study at King's College London, said this method can significantly make the process cheaper and quicker. After all, almost everyone in the planet has decaying teeth.
The trial that involved mice had them introduce defects and filled with a biodegradable sponge soaked in the drug. The tooth was gradually able to rebuild itself.
Restoring the tooth's original dentine structure is preferred because dental cement in conventional fillings weaken the tooth, meaning they are prone to infections in the future, which leads to erosion.
In terms of cavities, the tooth may eventually need to be extracted before undergoing treatment. The new method would encourage tooth repair, which is much more recommended.
The new treatment will also sadly not remove the dentist's drill as there's a chance to still need to remove the teeth.
The study uses a drug called the tideglusib, which has been assessed as a potential Alzheimer's treatment. The drug was seen to be able to stimulate stem cells in the center of the tooth that triggers them to develop into odontoblasts or specialized tooth cells and boost the production of dentine.
The study, published in Scientific Reports, added the scientist drilled holes into the teeth of mice and inserted a sponge with the drug and sealed the tooth with a dental adhesive.
The progress suggests that the sponge has degraded and was replaced with new dentine. Now scientists just have to figure out if the same method could be used in our own teeth.